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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 15, 2013 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: explosions rocked the finish line of the boston marathon, turning the festive scene into one of carnage and chaos. good evening. i'm gwen ifill.
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tackles science, research and genetics in a case that could determine who controls your medical care. marcia coyle recaps today's court arguments as the legal world asks, can a gene be patented. >> brown: we get an update on the senate's move toward bipartisan immigration reform with republican senator marco rubio leading the charge this weekend. >> ifill: ray suarez looks at venezuela's contentious presidential election as the opponent asks for a recount. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour.
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moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: 27 runners and thousands more spectators had turned out for the boston marathon today when terror erupted. two bombs exploded, and authorities said two people were killed and more than 50 others
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were wounded. (sirens). within minutes of the blast, wheelchairs and stretchers were ferrying victims up and down boylston street, the home stretch of the oldest marathon race in the world. amid the chaos competitors, race volunteers and spectators ran from the scene in shock. >> i went over there. there were body parts. people were blown apart. they're dead. where the wind owe is, the windows were all blown out. >> ifill: the attack came about three hours after the winners had crossed the finish line. a loud explosion on the north side of the street went off first followed by a second blast a few seconds later. a number of people were bloodied and had wounded arms and legs. >> they said put him in a wheelchair. we couldn't. no way. he s tting really cold. we were trying to keep talking to him and keep him alert as well as the other people laying there. we wheeled him, you know, on the
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board, walked him in the stretcher, met him halfway and took him in the ambulance. >> ifill: a newshour production assistant was a few blocks away at the time. >> i saw two clouds of smoke go up and heard them, you know, just a matter of seconds in between the two explosions. there was something confusing, you know, people immediately looked in that direction and started taking photos. there was a bit of a confusion. >> ifill: there were several thousand runners still on the course at the time. marathon organizers sent buses to pick them up. meanwhile, police said the motive for the bombings remained unclear. they also reported a third explosion at the john f. kennedy library but it may not be related. >> we have at this point in time determined that there has been a third incident that has occurred. there was an explosion that occurred at the j.f.k library. so this i very much an ongoing event at this point in time.
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we are not certain that these incidents are related, but we are treating them as if they are. we're recommending to people that they say home, that if they're in hotels in the area that they return to their rooms and that they don't go any place and congregate in large crowds. we want to make sure we completely stabilize the situation. >> ifill: in the wake of the attack police in london, washington, and new york stepped up security. president obama was notified. white house officials said he offered whaver assistance is needed in the response of the ensuing investigation. for more we turn to scott malone of reuters who was on the scene in boston. i spoke with him a few minutes ago. scott malone of reuters, thank you so much for joining us. what is the best, most recent information we have on what happened today? >> well, what we're hearing from boston police department at this point in time confirmed is two people dead. 23 injured. getting unconfirmed reports that boston hospitals have admitted
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significantly more people than that. right now they say there were two devices that went off at the finish line of the marathon. there is a third incident. it's not clear yet if it was related which happened at the john f. kennedy library that's located about three miles away from the marathon site. >> ifill: scott, where were you when this happened? >> i was in the press room at the hotel which is kind of the staging area for the marathon. we heard two blasts. one was relatively loud. the other one was somewhat fter. at first didn't know whatto make of them. then very quickly it became clear what had happened. >> ifill: the police commissioner said that there was also at least one control debt nation that happened after the first two explosions. what was that for? >> we don't know. they're not giving a lot of information out on that. the one point that they did make is once the blast started, people tried to escape quickly as you would imagine they would
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in such a situation. and many people who might have been carrying a backpack or something like that just decided them didn't need that extra weight as they got out of tere. so there's a lotf luggage and articles that had been left around and the police are treating all of them as suspicious devices until proven otherwise. >> ifill: have the police said anything about how they're gathering information, videotape, any eyewitness that may have seen someone planting any of these devices? >> they haven't offered a lot on that. i mean, this is a public place. there were tens of thousands of people probably, you know, passing through the area through the course of the day. so it's just a tremendous number of people who, you know, could have had the opportunity to see something. >> ifill: in the immediate after math of theexplosns, did people just... did people understand what was happening? did they scatter? was it chaotic or people just calmly file away? you're talking about tens of thousands of people. >> they got out of there, you know, fairly, fairly quickly. i think, you know, when you have the first blast, it's a little bit, you know, people don't
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necessarily know what had happened but when you got two in fairly quick succession, that is a very different matter, i think, for the average person. we saw people, you know, many people injured. we saw people running, you know, running from the scene. ah. >> ifill:here d all the runners go? >> they've just dispersed into the area. typically at the end of the race there are buses that bring their clothing to the finish line. those are all locked down and being secured so they're being checked. runners are just left kind of to make their way some place warm. >> ifill: if you were a relative or a loved one or someone who is just a spectator at the race, how did yougo aboutindinghe person, the people who were running? was there a local place where they were all directed, where you could find each other? >> early on i believe that some
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people were... the race officials said they were continuing to direct runners to the family reunion area, a different route from the race route. some people may have done that. others may have simply tried to return to their homes. >> ifill: finally, scott, do we know anything tonight about a suspect or a motive or any other planion for what we saw haen today? >> no. we've heard nothing from from the police on any of those matters yet. >> ifill: scott malone of reutersthank you so much. >> thank you for having me. good night. >> brown: we'll have more on this still developing story later in the program. still to come on the newshour, genetic research and the law; the senate tackles immigration reform; and venezuela elects a new president. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: at least 55 people were killed in iraq today in a string of coordinated bombings and other attacks. scores of others were wounded. explosions rang out from baghdad and fallujah to kirkuk and
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tikrit. the force of the blasts reduced city blocks to rubble, caused chaos in the streets and left bystanders bewildered. >> what have those innocent people done to deserve this? lives of innocent people don't mean anything? we are only asking for security and safety. is this safe? no electricity, no cars, they are targeting everything, even people. everything is targeted. why? why are they doing that? >> sreenivasan: the violence came less than a week bore iraqis hold local elections, their first vote since u.s. troops withdrew in 2011. there was no immediate claim of responsibility, but such attacks are often a trademark of al- qaeda's iraqi wing. a major sell-off hit wall street today. stocks plunged after china reported its economic growth slowed in the first quarter, and commodity prices took a hit. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 266 points to close at 14,599. the nasdaq fell 78 points to close at 3216. there was relative quiet out of north korea today, as the communist state celebrated the
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birthday of its founder with a flower festival. lebrations were focusein pyongyang, and residents dressed in their finest clothing to lay flowers before statues of former north korean leaders. a day earlier, north korea rejected the south's offer of dialogue, calling it a "crafty trick." a federal judge in washington has refused to intervene in a detainee hunger strike at guantanamo bay, cuba. he ruled today that federal law bars judicial review of enemy combatant claims of mistreatment. a yemeni prisoner, musaab al- madhwani, had said he and other hunger strikers are denied drinking water and medical care and kept in extreme cold. in anothedeveloent,ome of the 166 detainees fought with military guards on saturday over being moved to new cells. the "new york times" won four pulitzer prizes today, as the 2013 awards were announced. among the "times"' honors: the prize for investigative reporting on allegations that wal-mart bribed officials in mexico. the "denver post" won for
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"breaking news" reporting on the mass killing of 12 people at a movie theater. in the arts, adam johnson won the fiction prize for "the orphan master's son." and the poetry prize went to sharon olds for "stag's leap." e'll have an encore presentation of a profile of sharon olds, later in the program. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: back to the boston bombing story. president obama went to white house briefing room this evening to make a statement on developments. >> good afternoon, everybody. earlier today i was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in boston. we're continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds. i've directed the full resources of t federal gernment to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the united states as necessary, and investigate what happened. the american people will say a prayer for boston tonight, and michelle and i send our deepest thoughts and prayers to families
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of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss. we don't yet have all the answers. but we do know that multiple people have been wounded. some gravely in explosions at the boston marathon. i've spoken to f.b.i. director mueller ansecrary homeland security napolitano. they're mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and to respond. i've updated leaders of congress in both parties and we reaffirm that on days like this there are no republicans or democrats. we are americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens. i've also spoken with governor patrick and mayor menino and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families. above all, i made clear to them that all americans stand wi the people of bosn. boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the national guard responded heroically and continue to do so
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as we speak. just a reminder that so many americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day without regard to their own safety in dangerous and difficult circumstances. and we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy. we still do not know who did this or why. and people shouldn't jump to colusis before we have all the facts. but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. and we will find out who did this. we'll find out why they did this. any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice. today is a holiday in massachusetts. patriots' day. it's a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great american city of boston has reflected om the earlst days of our natn. it's a day that draws the world
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boston streets in a spirit of friendly competition. boston is a tough and resilient town. so are its people. i'm supremely confident that bostonnians will pull together, take care of each other and move forward as one proud city. and as they do, the american people will be with them every single step of the way. you should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. we're still in the investation stage at is point, but i just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable. thank you very much. >> ifill: president obama in the white house briefing room a short time ago. now we get another eyewitness account from the president of the boston city council, steerch murphy was near the finish line this arch. he joins us now on the phone. councilman murphy, tell me what you saw. >> well i was about 30 feet from
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the corner of boylston and exeter streets when loud explosion went off. it was almost like a mushroom cloud went up into the air. and people started running and screaming. it was very quick, quickly that the boston police, boston e.m.s., and boston fire as well as volunteers from the boston athletic association, the b.a.a. that runs the race, moved right in and cleared the area and began to restore order right away. it was a very good team effort on behalf of those who were presenting officials o th cy, the official police, fire and ambulance. and also the b.a.a. volunteers, the race volunteers. they worked swiftly to move in to the area and to bring boston e.m.s. got their ambulance folks over and to try to take care of
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injuries. they moved very, very quickly. a bostonnian... proud as a bostonnian to watch our emergency services people work so well. >> ifill: en thafit blas went off did you immediately think it was a bomb or did you think it was a manhole cover exploding? >> i thought it was a manhole cover. we've had a few of those usually in colder weather than this. the first time i thought it was a manhole cover, but the size of the fire ball and the cloud gave us pause. then another one happened maybe 15, 20 seconds later probably 100 yards further down boylston street. that's when everybody knew that it was something more than just a random incident. so people were evacuated from the area quickly. medical people were responding just as quickly to those that were injured and hurt. >> ifill: as president of the boston city council have you been informed about what that "something more" might be? >> i have not.
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i mean, i talked to our police commissioner, and i know that the governor and his folks... everybody is working as a team. the state and local officials. they've been... the boston regional intelligence center, whicis just a few yes o is working right now to try to coordinate efforts of all law enforcement and public safety personnel in the area. >> ifill: counselor murphy, as you well know, patriots day is a big holiday in boston. and the boston marathon is a big moment. 27,000 people running down the streets. how off-putting, how upsetting, how much was it a blow to you standing there in the middle of this on this kind of day? >> it was an attack on freedom itself again. by whoever did it. they're trying to... there's the
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psychological component to it. i know that everybody has been psychologically scarred by it that was part of it. i was just one of a bunch of people that were within 30, 50 feet of the explosion. you know, it's off-putting. it is. but i'm very happy at the way our response people responded. they did a tremendous job. there's some solace in that. >> ifill: did you witness any actual carnage nearby you? was there blood nearby you or was this something that seemed to happen at a distance? >> no, i was a little bit further away. it wasn't right at my feet or anything like that. but i did see people running by with clothes torn off and burn marks on them and blood. there was that. i mean, i did see enough of that right by the finish line. there was a media bridge right there. they were ptographing ebody coming across the finish line.
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it was right at the corner of exeter and boylston street right by that media outpost when it happened. >> ifill: our concerns go out to you and the city... the people of the city of boston, city council president steve murphy, thank you for calling in. >> brown: we'll continue to follow developments in boston but for now to another story today. the supreme court heard arguments in a case at the intersection of law and science. specifically genetic research. one that may well have major consequences for the future of medicine. the question, "can human genes be patented? we turn to marcia coyle who is back with us tonight. she was in the courtroom today. marcia, first background on this case. >> myriad is a utah-based genetic research company. and myriad holds patents on two
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genes with mutations that are linked to veryi risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer. its patents also give it exclusive control over diagnostic testing for those genes. about four years ago, a group of scientists, researchers, civil rights organizations, women's health organizations decided to challenge myriad's patents in federal court. they filed a lawsuit. they lost. two lower courts have upheld myriad's patents. today the challengers brought the case to the supreme court. >> brown: so the legal issue here is what can be patented. now we made a graphic of patent law just to help you out here. we'll put that up. tell us what the law says. then we can go into this case. >> okay. the law says that you can get a patent for any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, and composition of matter or any
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new and useful improvements on that invention. but what you can't get a patent for is the application of a product of nature or naral phenomenon. and i think justice breyer today put the case in context in explaining the law by saying, if you develop a process for extracting fat from a plant in the amazon, you can get a patent for the process. if you take the sap and you manipulate it and you come up with a new use, you can get a patent on the use. but what you can't get a patent on is the sap itself. >> brown: so the justices reach for an analogy to help them understand. >> exactly. brown: so what happened in thes arment what kind of questions were they pursuing? >> well, the question for the court is whether these genes are products of nature or a human-made invention. so first up at the lectern today was the attorney for the
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challengers, chris manson of the american civil liberties union. he said basically myriad has invented nothing here. he said myriad deserves credit for unlocking the secrets of these two genes. but the isolation of these genes from a strand of d.n.a. is something that is routi an done all across the untry. but the genes themselves, how they work, what they do, what they fail to do, those are decisions made by nature. while myriad deserves credit for unlocking the secrets, it doesn't deserve patents. >> brown: what reaction did that get from the justices? >> the justices are concerned about the inherent tension in patent cases. that is on the one hand we want to encourage investment in research and invention. myriad, for example, spent roughly $500 million until it fou thes two genes. then on the other hand, you don't want to lock up that invention for years to prevent
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further research and new uses. so the justices were asking mr. hanssen, well, what incentive will myriad have to do this or any company have to do this kind of research. he said there are lots of researchers who want these genes in order to do research and al also, he said, myriad and other companies can issue licenses to researchers to do that kind of work. >> brown: and the attorney for myriad was able toake tose arguments himself i guess about why it is important for the company to have the patent. >> absolutely. myriad's attorney was gregory castnillas. he told the court that the human invention here was in myriad's identifying and isolating these genes from the strand of d.n.a. he gave as an analogy a baseball bat. he said a bat doesn't exist until it's isolated from a tree. but the invention is in deciding where to begin the bat and where to end the bat. he faced skeptical questio from chief justice robertsho said, wl, now, wait a minute.
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what's involved here is snipping this strand of d.n.a. you cut here. you cut there. you've got the genes. but a bat is different. you don't... you have to invent the bat. you don't look at a tree branch and say, if i cut here and cut there i have a baseball bat. >> brown: what is the feeling among the interested parties because a lot of people joined into this about the implications here for the outcome beyond this case? >> this case is really pitted biotechnology, agricultural. a who sle of rearch organizations against civil rights groups, individuals, scientists. they're all concerned about how broadly the court might rule here. lots of genes have been patented. and what the court says in terms of this type of gene versus maybe a more narrow decision will have many implications for how research is done in the future as well as for
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individualized medicine. >> brown: marcia coyle, thank you as always. >> my pleasure, jeff. brown: we continue our look at this case and the larger implications with ellen matloff director of cancer genetic counseling at yale cancer center. she's a plaintiff in today's case. kevin noonan an intellectual property attorney and founder of the blog patent docs, dot-org. you heard marcia talk about the legal arguments. as someone involved in genetic counseling and research, what's the essence of this case for you? what's at stake? >> well, i've really seen from the ground floor what this has done to patient caroverhe last 15 years. keep in mind that when these genes were cloned many laboratories were offering this testing. there was nothing novel here, no invention, no special process, no special machine. we were doing this testing in our laboratory at yale. and then when the patents became... when they clamped down on the patents, our labs and all others were shut down.
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>> brown: kevin noonan, same question to you. as someone involved in the patent world and research, what do you think is the essence of this? >> i think that that is true. you're looking at what is going to enable the technology to get to the most patients the quickest and the most reliably. frankly myriad has done a great job of doing that because there are more people who have gotten this test than i think would have gotten it otherwise more consistently and more reliably than if it had been scattered among hundreds of thousands of individual research labs. >> brown: ellen, address that specifically. that claim has been put out there that scholarly work has hardly been stopped. there's been plenty of research done. i mean studies of the research done on this. >>i think thosof us in the know will tell you that this has had a chilling effect on research and not as much research has been able to be done. one company has had a monopoly on this testing. for companies and laboratories
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that wanted to find better ways to look for mutations, faster ways, less expensive ways, they've been stopped. yes, myriad has done a great job of marketing this test to a lot of people because they have a huge financial incentive. but many patients who really didn't need the tests were frightened into thinking th did by myriad's marketing. and insurance companies clamped down on who could have the test. it's made it difficult for some of my patients who need the test to actually get it. >> brown: kevin noonan, where should the line be drawn that marcia coyle just raised and the justices clearly raised today between allowing the company to reap a reward from its investment and getting the information out to those who need it? >> i think what you have to realize is what happens in these instances is that if you don't permit people to patent, which is something that will end up with full disclosure of what the invention is so that when the patents expire which will happen
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in about two years, everybody gets to use the invention. if you don't do that, for most genes, for most diseases it won't be as simple or straightforward as it with these genes and what will happen is that people won't disclose it. they'll hide it. they'll figure out ways they can do this testing without disclosing what the basis is. if they did that, then the monopoly, if you will, would last for a much longer time. one thing i will say is that there have been more than 10,000 basic research papers that have been published near the myriad patents were issued. in about 12 or 15 years. that sounds like a lot to me. i think basic research is being done. what's not being done is clinical work charging patients for the tests in the face of the patent. >> brown: what about that, ellen, i mean, about the argument that the work might not get done if the patent isn't given? >> i think those of us who work in genetics know that that just isn't true. before bcra1 and 2 tere were hundreds a hundredof gees
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discovered. patents on many of those genes none of them were used in this way. testing was available for all of those genes. this is just a company that has done something unprecedented in the way they've clamped down on this patent. quite frankly there is no invention here. they didn't invent anything. >> brown: staying with you, ellen, if you go beyond this case, where else in the world of research and testing would this have consequences? >> huge consequences. we're really come to a fork in the road here. moving forward we're going to be able to do whole genome sequencing on one d.n.a. sample, a tiny tube of blood. we're going to be able to look at 30,000 genes. people are estimating that that might even cost $1,000 to look at 30,000 genes with myriad and their monopoly they're charging $4,000 per patient for two genes. imagine if everyone of those genes was patented. think about the cost of this
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testing. it would not reach the average consumer. it wouldn't reach anyone. >> brown: kevin noonan, what about that? >> first of all that's probably not going to be the case. secretarily, the whole genome sequencing wouldn't infringe the patents at issue here. the sad thing is that the genes at issue even if the supreme court were to rule in its entire tee that the petitioners win, if a doctor were to or if yale started to do this testing the day after that decision, myriad has lots of other patents with lots of other claims that are directed not to the genes but to the methods themselves. and things that the court seemed not to think were a problem. and they would be able to sue them on those patents so the problem is that the answers you get that the genes are patentable or not is really not going to impact the issue that's been raised about whether patients will get care. >> brown: kevin noonan just to stay with you. one of the questions i've seen raised is whether the pace of change in the field of genetic
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research is outstripping the law. how relevant is a case like this? you watch these developments. what is your answer to that? >> i would say that the case is about 30 years too late. >> brown: 30 years? yeah, because that's when genes were first patented. it was 1980 or so. so right now, if you look at just the procedural aspects of patent law, a patent is granted with a term of 20 years from when the application was filed. most of the gene patents that are out there, most of the new ones, were filed around the turn of the century. by 2020 they'll all expire just by the nature of the way that the patent system works. and so many of... for these claims or these types of claims, many of the problems, many of the things that people are afraid of just won't come to pass. >> brown: a brief last word to you, ellen, on that very issue on whether the science is outstripping the law. >> i think we're finding new ways around things like isolated
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d.n.a., but moving forward this is a bigger issue. are we going to let people patent things that occur in the human body that they did not invent because if we do do that, it's going to hinder the future of personalized medicine. i don't think we want that. >> brown: ellen matloff and kevin noonan, thank you both ve much. >> thanks very much. you. ifill: the political >> ifill: the political push for overhauling the nation's immigration system gains new momentum. suspect we're all here to send a very clear message. we are ready. >> ifill: california democrat javier led other supporters of comprehensive immigration reform in a capitol hill rally today. insid the capitol, a bipartisan group of eight senators put the finishing toucs on legislation to overhaul the system. expected to be unveiled tomorrow. florida republican marco rubio,
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one of the members of the so-called gang of eight, described the plan sunday on seven talk shows. >> i think it's important to understand it doesn't give anything. it allows people access to the legal immigration system. number two some people won't qualify. they haven't been here long enough. they've committed serious crimes. they won't be able to stay. all people will get is the opportunity to apply for thing, to apply for a legal status which isn't awarded on day one much there's a process for that. >> ifill: although it has not been formerly introduced it's been widely reported that the legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for the sometimed 11 million undocumented people now in the country and establish a ten-year process for obtaining a green card, gaining full citizenship would take another three years. applicants would have to pay a fine and back taxes, learn english, and pass a criminal background check among other hurdles. rubio says that system would be triggered only if certain border security benchmarks are met. >> that means securing the
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border, universal e-verify and the universal entry-exit tracking system. if those three things are not in place that green card process won't begin even if the ten years has elapsed. >> ifill: but some republicans were skeptical including alabama senator jeff sessions. >> no, i'm not convinced. i know senator rubio's heart is exactly right. i really respect the work of the gang of eight. but they have produced a legislation that will give amnesty now, legalize everyone that is here effectively today and then there's a promise of enforcement in the future. >> ifill: white house press secretary jay carney said today the administration believes it's possible to satisfy concerns on both sides. >> these are compatible ideas enhancing border security, allowing for a clear path to citizenship that requires a number of very specific steps. so the president is very pleased with the progress we've seen thus far. >> ifill: once the bill is formerly rolled out tomorrow the
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senate judiciary committee will hold its first hearing later this week. to helpsort through the next stps we' joined by brian bennett who covers immigration for the los angeles times. brian, what was it that the bipartisan group has now agreed to and what are the issues that are still outstanding? >> the bipartisan group plans to unveil their bill tomorrow on tuesday probably. maybe as soon as tomorrow. they've agreed on almost all the major points. they're still fine-tuning the bill today and will unveil what they've decided on tomorrow. so the main points are that there will be a legalization program for the 11 million people who are here without papers or who have overayed eirisas this program would start about six months after the bill is passed, after the department of homeland security has outlined a way to secure the border. and people will be able to apply, pay a fine, go through a criminal background check and apply to get legal status. over the next ten years, the u.s. would spend a lot of money
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on enhanced border security and there would be a requirement that a certain certification was made on border security. after that point if those requirements were met on border security and a few other factors, then those peopl who wereegaliz woulde eligible to apply for green cards and eventually become citizens. >> ifill: i want to circle back to some of the points you made. let's start by talking about visas. this whole question of work visas. is that for high-tech workers and agricultural workers. that's been a sticking point along the way. >> this has. one of the main things that the senators wanted to tackle in this bill is how do you manage the future flow of immigrants so you don't have as much pressure on the border of people wanting to come over illegally to find work. they've created a couple of work visa programs in the bill. and one is for farm woers. over 50% of farm workers in the united states came here illegally or overstayed their visas. and the bill would create a new visa system that would allow farmers to hire farm workers
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from overseas. also for the farm workers who were already here, they have, if they stayed in agriculture work they've have an expedited path to legal... to get a green card. and then when it comes to low-skilled workers, people like housekeepers, meat packers, janitors, there's another new visa progr thawould be estlished as well to accommodate work shortages here in the united states. >> ifill: that's different from the highly educated workers who the tech companies have been agitating to allow more of them in the country, right? >> there are provisions in the bill to bring in more tech workers. it would approximately double the number of slots that are currently available for high-skilled workers to try to satisfy the needs of silicon valley and other tech companies that want to hire more workers with advanced degrees. > ifl: let's go back t the border security issue. that's been one thing that everybody agrees about, that there ought to be if not higher
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fences at least higher enforcement, tougher enforcement along the border. is that something which is now settled? >> it is essentially settled for this group of senators. we'll see what happens when they roll it out to the other 92 senators in the senate. but this group of senators has decided that they've come up with a solution for border security and that they feel will help secure the border and prevent illegal immigrants from crossing in the comin years. and what it essentially does is increases dramatically the amount of surveillance on the border and tries to get to a point where border security can respond to people crossing the border in a very quick way. >> ifill: isn't there some disagreement about how severe a problem it really is at this point. >> there is. the white house and the obama administration says that the border is more secure than it's been in 40 years. and spending more money on border security is not really necessary. their foow-on point woul be
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that by creating legalization programs and also by creating a way for people to come legally into the u.s. to work, that you take some of the pressure off the border. and, you know, that said, there's been frustration among people who have seen these efforts go before without really trying to clamp down on the border and create a legalization program. >> ifill: brian, what also feels different this time is we have gotten used to seeing rallies like what we saw on capitol hill today wi the same usual spects sayg 's tim for immigration reform but it feels like this time like other people are on that bandwagon including members of the larger faith community. >> the political environment is a lot different than in 2007 the last time congress took up an effort to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. right now we have evangelical leaders who have signed on and said, look, there's a religious imperative to embrace the stranger and to reach out and help people who are in our
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community. on the republican side, you have what they call a coalition of bles, badg and business. you have faith leaders. you also have law enforcement leaders, attorney general from the states. and other sheriffs. and business leaders who are saying, look, our system is broken. its time to fix the system. on the republican side they're getting pressure from some of these core constituents to come up with a solution. >> ifill: is it fair to say after seeing his kind of tour de force on the sunday talk shows yesterday that senator marco rubio, the florida republican, is the face of this? or are there other... is there other agitation going on especially over in the hou? >> rco rubiis see as essential to presenting this bill to conservative members of the republican caucus. because here's marco rubio. he was elected to his senate seat in 2010 on a wave of tea party support. and we'll see if he's successful at trying to bring a lot of the conservatives in the republican
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caucus along board. there's a big hurdle in the house going forward. and the effort in the senate is to try to get a bill passed with a lot of bipartisan votes to try to put pressure on the houseto coe up with their ownbill or to take up the senate version. >> ifill: which some members of the house are working on, i gather? >> that's right. there are about eight members of the house, four from each party that have been working for several months on drafting their own legislation and that bill, they're going to take a look at what the senator came up with and they may present their own version of immigration overhaul in the coming weeks. >> ifill: brian bennett of the l.a. times, we know you'll be watching and we will too. >> happy to be on, thanks. ifill: online we're kicking off a week of conversations on the evolving immigration debate. first up, hari sreenivasan talks sean moran ofthe national border patrol council. >> brown: now to venezuela, the south american country voted on
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sunday for a new president to succeed the late hugo chavez. as ray suarez reports, the results were far closer than many expected. >> suarez: the streets of caracas were mostly quiet this morning as convenient wail ands adjusted to the immediate calls for a recount. >> the gap was very small. actually it was... i was expecting it to be bigger. while the people expressed their will and it was the popular will, so it's necessary to respect the results. >> the difference is very, very little. it's possible that there were mistakes during the counting. i agree they should have asked for a recount so we can clear the doubts. >> suarez: the authority declared maduro had won by a whisker with just 50.7% of the vote. >> these are the irreversible results that the people of venezuela have decided with their electoral process. >> he is the hand picked
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successor of president hugo chavez who died of cancer last month after 14 years in power. under chavez relation with washington were strained even as venezuela became america's fourth largest supplier of crude oil. instead chavez transformed his country into a socialist ally of cuba's castro regime. last night with the vote in, maduro told supporters they had done the will of the late leader. >> long live chavez,long live chavez. until victory forever. let's go to the streets to defend this victory. to defend the triumph. in peace and in order to celebrate with the people and to remember that we have complied with the commander. >> suarez: still opposition candidate capriles said the margin of 235,000 votes demands a recount. >> i want to say to the golf's candidate, the loser today is you. i say that firmly. you are the loser. you and your government. we will not recognize the
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results until each and every vote one by e has been counted. >> suarez: maduro said he's open to that idea. in washington, the state department also endorsed it. >> the results reveal the venezuelan electorate is evenly divided. in order to meet all the democratic expectations it makes sense that such a recount should be completed before any additional steps, including official certification of the results, occurs. >> suarez: maduro campaigned with all the advantages of government backing. it may signal venezuelans are weary of chronic inflion, shoages of basic goods and high levels of violent crime. for more on the election and what it for more on sunday's election and what it means for venezuela and the united states, i'm joined by cynthia arnson, director of the latin america program at the wilson center. and mark weisbrot, co-director of the center for economic and policy research. cindy, let's start with you. capriles has formerly requested the cancellation of the official
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event to certify the results. given the state of play in venezuela, is that result as far as we know it now likely to hold up? >> i think the result is likely to hold up but the real question is under what process and whether there will be a recount that will be accepted by the opposition as legitimate. one of the difficulties in this is that the institutions of the government have been so stacked over the years by chavez's supporters that their independence is really called into question certainly by the opposition as well as a lot of people in the international community. the very electoral council that ratified the vote last night is four out of five members, you know, who are considered chave istas, whether hard line or chavez-light, they are still people who are close to the p.s.u.v. there's one opposition person. the real question is how do you affirm the legitimacy in the eyes of the venezuelan people of this very narrow victory, quite
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surprising given the polls. >> suarez: mark, the opposition candidate has requested a full recount. given what it says in venezuelan electoral laws is it likely to get, hard to get? >> let me give you some context here i think for your listeners and viewers. i think the only reason we're having a discussion about the legitimacy of the election or having all the negative news really that you hear about venezuela almost everyday it's about 90% negative is there are two reasons. one is that this is probably the most important target for regime change from the united states' government and, two, it has 500 billion barrels of oil approximately. those two things are reeled. i think that's why we're having from in 2006 there was an election in mexico where calderon won by 0.6% about a third of the margin that maduro
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had. and what did the u.s. government do? they congratulated him before there was any kind of even announce also or official announcement that he won. and then they organized an international campaign to leg mate his election. they supported them when they not only refused a recount but refused to... >> suarez: american congratulations or not, what does venezuelan law say about whether capriles can get a recount. >> he doesn't have any entitlement to a recount. the venezuelan system is very secure. that's why jimmy carter called it the best in the electoral process in the world. they audited 54% of the vote. statistically they do that right there. they take, you know, there's two copies of every vote. you pish a touch screen. you get a receipt. you get to look at it. you put it in a ballot box. unlike our system where we don't really know who won when it's close toy lks, they know. i mean they take a random selection of 54% for an audit. they look at the machine and they make sure it counts up. they do it in front of the opposition witnesses.
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that's already been done. that's done at the election. you know, the difference between 100% and a 54% random sample in this situation is statistically not that much. it's almost trivial. >> suarez: cindy, if that margin does hold up, as both of you suggest it's likely to do, is maduro a weakened president because of the closeness of the election? the president of the national assembly, o of hirivals, said the results oblige us to make profound self-criticism. a divided country. >> it's a very divided country. i think that as a result of the narrow margin, nicolas maduro has nowhere the mandate he had been hoping for. last october president chavez won that election with close to 11% of the popular vote. all of the polls going into these last days, you know, before the election show that maduro continued to enjoy a reduced but still a 6 or 7 percent lead. to have that down to the point
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that the opposition is calng r a recount because they don't trust, you know, the final count shows that the country is far more divided and there were far more defection from the governing party than anyone had anticipated including the pollsters that over time have shown themselves to be the most credible. so he goes into this with a very weakened mandate, with difficulty in keeping together the chavez coalition in resolving the deep problems of the economy in light of a devaluation in resolving the atrocious situation of crime and violence in the country. how he will keep those very factions of the party together and at the same time tackle these very deep seated problems is really a big question. i think it leaves open the possibility for a great deal more instability. >> suarez: it sounds like it's going to be difficult to run venezuela, whoever takes the loath of president.
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30-plus percent inflation, high crimes. those facts. >> 20% last year. it's picked up a little in the last few months but or significantly in the last few months. i think that was part of the problem for maduro. i think there are serious challenges ahead. we don't want to exaggerate them too much. for 14 years, the business press has been saying that the venezuelan economy is going to collapse. it never did. it won't either. they always say it's unsus sanable. that's what we had in 2006 when you have an $8 trillion housing bubble and anybody who is looking at it which didn't include the majority of economics professors knows when it collapse its going to collapse and you're going to have a terrible recession. they don't have those kinds of imbalances. what they have is a problem of stabilizing the exchange rate. they had growth, they've had growth now for almost three years, for two-and-a-half of those years right up to the last quarter of last year right up to the election.
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they were growing quite rapidly and inflation was falling during all that time. it's just picked up in the last few months. it is possible for them to resolve those problems and the collapse that all the people who don't like venezuela are waiting for is really vry unkely to happen. >> suarez: let me get a quick back-and-forth from you both before you close on what's at stake for the venezuelans and the americans in the u.s.-venezuela relationship. cindy. >> well, the united states continues to be venezuela's largest export market. that will probably continue. it's not been very successful in diversifying its purchasers of venezuelan oil. it's a very heavy sulfur laden kind of crude. it's very difficult to ship it for, you know, for great distances. i think the biggest problem in the relationship is going to be the continuing rhetorical attacks on the u.s. government
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as having caused the cancer of hugo chavez and plotting to assassinate the opposition candidate capriles to blame the government. i mean the constant barrage of attacks on the united states would suggest anything but... suggest that there will be a very difficult moment ahead. >> suarez: mark, quickly. yes. well, the "new yorkimes" reported today that maduro reached out through bill richardson to the u.s. government to try to improve relations. i think you saw the answer today. the statement from the white house was much worse than the one from the state department that you played. they actually said we believe it's necessary for you to have 100% audit of your vote. that is very, very rude, nasty thing to say. it's basically hate speech. tell another government, one that you supported a military coups against. and i won't even talk about our own elections here. to tell hem how their elections should be run. to take openly the side of the
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opposition. it's very disturbing. if they wanted that they wouldn't say it publicly. they did it knowing it would cause trouble. that's what i'm really worried about right now. >> suarez: thank you both. thank you. brown: we had intended to bring you a profile of sharon olds but we devoted more time to the news from boston tonight. you can find that profile online as well as a conversation with another of today's pulitzer winners, novelist adam johnson. all that is on art beat. >> ifill: again the major developments of the day. two bombs exploded near the finish line. boston marathon, killing two people, and wounding scores. police said later that a third explosion at a different site was unrelated to the attack. the u.s. house held a moment of silence for the bombing victims and president obama warned from the white house, "we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable."
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and at least 55 people were killed in iraq in a sring of coordinated bombings and other attacks. >> brown: just in case you forgot, it's tax day in america, and for us online. hari sreenivasan has more. >> sreenivasan: on his making sense page, paul solman looks back to 1913, the first year the federal income tax was permanently introduced. we compare tax rates then and now. and social security expert larry kotlikoff examines the way your benefits are taxed. all that and more is on our web site, gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the bombings that rocked boston. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway.
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>> macarthur foundation. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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